A Shout-Out for Kindness

Fans broadcast live compliments to friends and family at the inaugural University of Miami Day of Kindness.

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UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 18, 2014) — Who she is those who know aren’t saying, but the student who started UMCompliments got her wish Tuesday: The popular UM Facebook page she launched anonymously to give appreciative ’Canes a forum for expressing their gratitude moved from the Internet to the public square, debuting at the inaugural University of Miami Day of Kindness.

Taking the microphone at the live compliment station set up on The Rock Plaza, senior Amanda Spies broadcast her affection for roommate Kylie Wyman, who is helping organize the University’s Relay for Life to support cancer survivors. “She’s awesome,” Spies said. “She always supports me and I am lucky to have her as a friend.”

On his way to class, Benjamin Ross, a senior studying finance, paused for a moment to succinctly sum up the kindest thing that ever happened to him. Drawing a heart around the word ‘birth,’ on a table banner Ross wrote, “Thanks, Mom.”

Sophomore Holly Kogachi gave a shout-out to Stephen Quiñones, the vice president of UMiami Random Acts of Kindness, who was giving free hugs to anyone who wanted one—something he does most Fridays. “Thank you, Stephen! You always make my Fridays,” Kogachi said.

Among his takers on Tuesday: UM President Donna E. Shalala.

“I hug a lot of strangers, but I do have regular customers,” Quiñones said of the practice he started as a freshman because he knows kindness changes lives.

To illustrate that point, Ansh Grover, president of Vitality U, an integrated health organization that promotes positive energy and well-being, told the story of a high school valedictorian who in his graduation speech recalled the day long ago that he decided to kill himself after a bully ripped his books from his arms. Both his plan and his life changed when a football player retrieved the books and gave them back. They would become fast friends.

Grover and Faran Khan, president of UMiami Random Acts of Kindness, credited the student who anonymously started UMCompliments a year ago with what they all hope will become an annual tradition at UM. “She reached out to us to bring UMCompliments to life, and this is what evolved,” Khan said. “We think it will catch on.”

And, indeed, it already has. While the creator remains anonymous, UMCompliments already has more than 2,400 Facebook “Likes.”

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